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Get Fit For the Ski Season

01Oct

What does December to April mean to you? For some it’s winter festivals; cuddling up in front of a log fire and long snowy walks in the countryside.  For others though, it means only one thing: skiing.

Yes, it’s time to get out the winter resort brochures and get that hotel booked! But isn’t there something else to do first? Get fit for the season ahead!

You may think you’re in good shape, but skiers and snowboarders use a different set of muscles when out on the slopes. On their own, exercise regimes that look after your cardiovascular system may not be up to the job.  Injuries can occur when snowboarding and skiing because you haven’t prepared properly, especially if your job demands you sit behind a desk all day. So whilst you’re deciding where to go this season, follow a simple exercise plan especially designed for getting the most out of those winter sports muscles.

Exercise for the Piste

Quadriceps

Let’s begin with most important muscle group for skiing.  Strength in these muscles is vital for skiers and snowboarders. These muscles do the work of keeping you in the right position and also protect your knees. Leg strengthening exercises should be at the top of your exercise plan. For people who take to the slopes for the first time, quad strain can be the first thing they experience and this can stop them from fully enjoying the sport. Simple exercises for strengthening quads are step-ups, squats and lunges.

 

arobicThighs

Both inner and outer thighs play a very important role for skiers. They are the muscles that are used to keep your skis in the correct position. We have all seen those hilarious images of first time skiers who legs are moving farther and farther away from each other as they slip and slide down the slope. Skiers use their thighs to keep their legs together as they ski. Simple exercises for strengthening this group of muscles are front lunges and squeeze balls (squeezing the ball between the legs as hard as you can). For inner thighs, side lunges, and squeeze balls can be used to good effect too.

 

Glutes and Hamstrings

These exercises are all about flexibility. When skiing and snowboarding your body needs to be able to flex, particularly when moving downhill at speed. You need to lean your body to control your direction, speed and stability. This puts tremendous strain on your glutes and hamstrings. Simple exercises for strengthening these muscles can range from simple lunges to more strenuous exercises using weights, sports equipment and discs.

 

Strengthening the Core

This is so important for skiers and snowboarders. As important as these muscles are for improving the quality of your days on the slopes, exercises to strengthen the core can be amazingly simple to do and require no gym equipment. The last thing you want when enjoying the snow is bad pain. Push-ups help strengthen the core. The plank position is also easy to achieve with results showing in a short time. Lie on your stomach in a straight position and extend your arms to the front of you, then raise your arms and legs as if you intend to take flight. Hold this position for a short time then repeat. Core exercises are incredibly powerful so don’t overdo these exercises. Start with just a few repeats and as your back gets more flexible you can turn on your side and attempt to raise yourself up on one arm. Again these power exercises can show significant results if you stick with them.

Getting fit for your winter sports adventure is a good investment of your time. There will be few days when you are laid up with aching muscles.

 

snow

 

Safety First

Any discussion about planning an exercise regime need to include safety tips.  As keen as you are to show off your prowess on the slopes always take care when exercising and follow some simple rules

  • Never exercise before doing some simple warm up exercises
  • Do exercises correctly. Go to a gym or study the correct exercises from an instructor or a good online source
  • Allow yourself to cool down between sets of exercises
  • Go at your own pace
  • Do not repeat the same exercise too many time as you could strain your muscles
  • Drink plenty of water when doing strenuous exercise
  • Don’t put your body through exercises it can’t manage
  • If you feel unwell or overly stiff do not exercise that day.

 

The slopes await you. Enjoy!

Snowboarding

Is Snowboarding or Skiing the Right Choice for Me?

27Sep

Every year more and more people are joining the slopes as winter travel gets less expensive and tourists get more adventurous, some travelling around the world to find the very best powder. Added to the growing numbers of skiers, the snowboarding community has expanded rapidly and now shares the same slopes with more traditional users. Once thought of as a foolhardy sport, snowboarding has gained in popularity across the globe. If you are new to winter sports you may be wondering whether snowboarding or skiing is the right choice. There are some differences that you should know about before you make your final decision. But of course when you are proficient enough there’s no reason why you can’t do both. Most resorts now cater for skiing and snowboarding. So let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons

Getting on and getting up!

  • Initially skiing may be easier to learn than snowboarding because your legs are independent of each other. You may feel more able to control your movements and stick a leg out to balance yourself if you get into trouble.  Also your whole body faces in the direction you are travelling. Snowboarding on the other hand requires that you twist your body and have both feet firmly anchored to the board, which can be disconcerting for a beginner and takes a while to get accustomed to it. It’s rather like a cyclist getting used to fixed pedals, which can feel awkward at first and if you begin to fall there is little you can do to stop the inevitable.

 

  • Then there are the chair lifts to consider. They certainly look easy to negotiate when watching experts get on and off them, but for the beginner they are challenging. For skiers there is all the gear to negotiate upon boarding the lift and that’s after you’ve struggled in the snow to reach it. But once you’ve mastered how to negotiate different kinds of chair lifts (for example, basket lifts don’t slow down when you board or exit) you will have little trouble using them. For snowboarders it is quite a different matter. Whist snowboarders have the advantage of only carrying their boards, using a basket lift, which does not slow down, poses particular problems because boarders have to have one foot strapped onto their boards. More experienced boarders learn how to snowboard on one foot which solves this problem to a degree. Poma lifts are used quite often by snowboarders (they are button like seats that the snowboarder sits on, which is then dragged up the piste by a cable, but even these lifts take some practice to use competently.

 

Which Sport is Easiest to Master?

Snowboarding 

  • Mastering the art of skiing and snowboarding is a major factor when deciding which sport to choose. On the plus side skiing is easier to learn because you are standing in direction you will be travelling, you have a degree of control because you have two legs and the basic techniques can be broken down so you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. For snowboarders the picture is different because it’s just you and your two feet strapped to a board. This can be pretty daunting for a beginner. Getting up after a fall is bad enough for a newbie skier, but for a beginner snowboarder, finding themselves face down in the snow with their feet tied can be off-putting to say the least.

 

  • But, when it comes to mastering the art, snowboarding wins hands down. Whilst it may take some time to find your balance and your nerve, once you know the basics such as actually moving on the board and how to deal with falls, you are on your way. If you can meet the initial challenges of steering a board that is tied to your feet, you can reach an intermediate level very quickly. Skiers on the other hand, may learn the basics quickly but may take a long time to actually master the sport.

Injuries

  • Leg injuries are more common in skiers, particularly knee injuries. Collisions on busy slopes are quite common too, which can result in head injuries. Snowboarders are just as prone to injuries as skiers but they are more likely to sustain injuries to their upper bodies. Injuries to wrists and collarbones are more common in snowboarders. But thrills and spills don’t always result in injuries. With proper instruction, plenty of snow, and lots of relaxation whether snowboarding or skiing, this coming season could be your best ever!

 

Do’s and Don’ts of the Slope

28Aug

Before you hit the slopes, you might want to know a few basic things that are expected of you. Well, some are just obvious unspoken rules, but this doesn’t mean that people do not break them from time to time. Here at Madarao Ski Resort we don’t want you to look awkward and attract some giggles. So we thought we could mention a few do’s and don’ts for when you hit the slopes.

Training

Do: do get trained by a qualified instructor. The formality and professionalism that comes with someone unfamiliar allows you to focus and take the training seriously. Also this allows both of you to not get carried away by emotions.

Don’t: don’t get trained by a spouse, a friend or someone close to you. Both of you might be worked up and end up snapping at each other or worse. So as much as it sounds so appealing, please do not get trained by somebody close.

Gear

Do’s: always wear the right skiing gear. For starters, you can hire gear such as skiing boots and boards. Also wear well-fitting and comfortable gear.  Also remember that you are skiing in the slope, so always stay warm and dry. Layer a lot of light clothes as opposed to few heavy clothes. Also wear water proof jacket and trouser.

Ski Equipment

Don’t: don’t wear ill-fitting and uncomfortable gear. Trust me; this is neither the time nor place to flaunt your Italian suit. Avoid shopping for expensive gear, or shopping online, especially if it’s your first time hitting the slopes. As a rule of thumb, it’s always advisable to first hire skiing gear, and then you can shop later when you get familiar with the skiing ropes.

Caution

Do: exercise caution always. Always wear your helmets and goggles. Also stay in your limits, giving way to other skiers.

Don’t: get carried away by your prowess too fast. You might learn the basics on the first day and get tempted to hit the moguls. Please don’t. Take it one step at a time.

Posture

Do: practice the right stance. Always keep your knees bent and your eyes trained straight ahead. This gives you better control, and enables you to absorb shocks.

Don’t:  lean ahead or lean backwards (back seating), as you could fall forward or backwards. Avoid looking down at your skis as you will end up losing focus of what’s ahead.

Taking Care of Your Ski Board

Do: tune your skiing board as often as you can. This helps keep it in top shape, and you can smoothly glide over the slopes. For more tips on waxing your board, see  .

Don’t: neglect your ski board. Always keep the board dry to avoid rust and jagged edges that slow you down and damage the board too soon.

Exercise in Advance

Do: get your body in top shape before skiing. Make sure that you exercise and are flexible. Remember skiing requires a lot of bending and fast movements. Also learn a few skiing lingo. You don’t want to be looking blank or getting mad when somebody calls you a bunny. For more skiing lingo, see  

Don’t: get lazy. Keep your body and mind prepared for skiing well before you hit the slopes. We don’t want you getting frustrated if you get strains on your first day skiing.

Where to Stay

Do: get yourself booked in a comfortable hotel, resort or chalet. You need a place where you can relax and maybe enjoy a beer or two after a long day skiing. Take into consideration how much you are willing to spend, and for what. Ski resorts are particularly good since they offer the best when it comes to skiing. You can get a qualified instructor, the right gear and the right slopes. You can check out our offerings here.

Don’t: overlook your safety and comfort when you go skiing. Also avoid booking a hotel or resort during the last minute, since you could end up spending more or settling for less than what you deserve.

Loosen Up!

Do: by all means have fun. Loads of fun. Laugh at yourself when you fall. Then pick yourself up. Make new friends, and make great memories too.

Don’t: get worked up. Be patient with yourself and avoid dampening your mood as well as that of others.

The Fabulous New Active Life Shuttle Bus

24Aug

Here at active life Madarao we are crazy about skiing and offering the best when it comes to hitting the powder. We know that snow is good for your health and a great pass time for your holidays. We are dedicated to making skiing memorable for you. You can check out more on why snow is good for your health.

Our New Shuttle Bus.

We understand that after some skiing sessions at Madarao, you might feel the need to try skiing some new slopes. Worry no more. We got you. We are introducing a new complimentary shuttle to take you to Nozawa ski resort, where you can have a taste of new, different snow. What more? This is absolutely hassle-free. Take it as a gift from Active Life Madarao team, just for your love of snow.

The Active Life shuttle will be operating between Madarao and Nozawa from 25 December 2017 to 31 January 2018 on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. The shuttle will, however, run throughout the season (25 December 2017 to 31 March 2018) from Iiyama train station to Madarao and back.

For more information on the shuttle timetable and terms and conditions, you can see

Nozawa Onsen-Nagano

Located in the north of Nagano prefecture, Nozawa Onsen belongs to the Joshinetsu Park, about 50 kilometers from Nagano station.

The Nozawa Onsen has a rich skiing history, with alpine skiing having been introduced in 1930 by Hannes Schneider from Austria.  Since then, many people took an interest in skiing in the Nozawa Onsen. It also leads in skiing and snowboarding tournaments, as well as hosting biathlon competitions for the Nagano Olympics.

The village strives to maintain a traditional Japanese culture, which is ideal for international tourists.

The village also has several bars, restaurants, convenience and souvenir shops.

The Best of Nozawa

1. Nozawa Mountain

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is among the oldest skiing destinations in Japan, having been established over 70 years ago.  It is no doubt the largest ski resort with 297 hectares of skiing surface, and an elevation of 1650 meters, right at the base of Mount Kenashi-Yama.

Nozawa Onsen is a real skiing paradise, offering powdery, uncontaminated snow, which starts from December, extending well into May.

2. A Ski Trail for Everybody

With 36 skiing trails, Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort has something for everyone. There are 14 trails for beginners and children which are gentle and expansive. The ice quality is also superb and safe for beginners.

Intermediate and advanced skiers can also challenge themselves in more difficult trails such as the Utopia, Challenge course, Schneider, Skyline and Yamabiko trails.

The Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort can be accessed using these three routes: the Nagasaki trail, Homage trail, and Kawasaki trail.

To ensure ease of access to the trails, Nozawa offers two gondolas, and 21 ski lifts spread all over the trails, to take you back to the top of the slope.

3. Family-Friendly Services

Nozawa ski resort offers safe and free rest areas for kids, called the “Naski,” where you can leave your kids as you go skiing on the slopes.  Outside the rest area, there is a park with safe playing equipment such as sled rides and inflatable bouncers. At the second floor is a day care for children, but this has its charges and terms.

4. The Soto-Yu (Hot Spring Baths)

The hot baths in Nozawa are a must see for anybody visiting Nozawa. There are thirteen public hot baths, which are locally maintained by the community. Each bath has its own unique story or medicinal value. The baths are clean, and sanitary, and perfect for relaxing and catching up after a long day of skiing. There is no charge for using the baths, but you can leave a donation for maintenance purposes. You are required to bring your towel and personal effects.

You can also enjoy Ashy no yu, which is a hot spring for a foot bath. There are several of these in the village.

You can enjoy Onsen Tamago (eggs boiled in the hot springs) too.

5. Asa Ichi (Market)

You probably want to carry some beautiful souvenirs from Nozawa. The early morning market which usually opens on designated days is ideal for collecting Japanese vegetables, crafts, and other local items.

 

The next time you are in Madarao resort be sure to take advantage of our new Active Life shuttle bus to Nozawa, to enjoy more Japanese snow and culture.

Top Tips on Different Wax Types for Different Slope Conditions.

04Aug

Tips on Different Wax Types for Different Slope Conditions.

Waxing is a maintenance activity that involves applying a lubricant to your ski’s to reduce friction mainly. Waxing works by providing a hydrophobic surface on your board, which resists water.

What’s the Importance of Ski Waxing?

With time, your board gets damaged by hitting rocks, rusting, friction or chemical damage from chemically treated snow.

The most obvious reason for waxing is to reduce friction, hence being able to move faster. Waxing also reduces the rate at which your ski’s wears out.

How Often Should I Wax My Skis?

There’s no given duration after which you should wax your ski’s. However, logic dictates that the more you use your board, the more you should wax it. Just looking at your board can tell you whether or not you need to wax it. If the bottom looks dull and gray, it’s time to wax. There is no such thing as too much waxing. In fact, the more you do it, the better.

Ski Tuning

Ski tuning is a general term for ski maintenance that aims to keep your ski’s sharp, clean and smooth.

Waxing in itself will not make much of a difference if you haven’t repaired your base and edges. In fact, waxing is the last tuning step, preceded by base repair and edge work.

Base repair involves cleaning out your board or ski using a cleaning cloth, which removes dirt, grease, and accumulated wax. Most tuning kits come with a specialized cleaning liquid, which brings out hidden dirt and dissolves wax. After cleaning the ski, apply this liquid, and then wipe it out with a clean towel after 10 minutes.

Next step is the p-tex filling, whereby you light your p-tex candle and wait until it is flames. Let the drops drip onto your ski’s/board, filling out all cuts and scrapes. Give the p-tex 10-15 minutes to cool then scrape it off with a metal scraper, to remove excess p-tex.

Edge tuning involves keeping the edges of your board or ski sharp. Blunt edges have a weak grip on snow, which slows you down. The first step is running a diamond stone, over the edges, giving you smooth edges

Next step is using a special file to sharpen your edges. Do this from tip to tail, taking care not to distort the shape of the edges.

 

Waxing

What Wax Should I Use?

  1. All temperature waxes- these waxes are designed to work in all temperature conditions. Sometimes you may find yourself skiing in different geographical areas, or unable to predict what the temperature will be. All temperature wax, in this case, will be your best bet.
  2. Temperature specific waxes- temperature specific waxes are usually identified as either red or yellow. They both work in a smaller range of temperatures than all temperature waxes.

Red waxes are designed for colder temperatures of between -4 and -10 degrees (25 and 18 degrees Fahrenheit). Red wax is the best when it comes to hot wax scrape cleaning. It is also the best for most skiing activities.

Yellow waxes are appropriate for warmer areas of between 0 and minus-4 degrees Celsius. (32 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit).

  1. Fluorocarbons- fluorocarbon waxes can either be low or high fluorocarbon. These waxes repel water more, adding speed to your ski boards. As a result, they cost significantly more than ordinary waxes and are most preferred by professional skiers. Low fluorocarbon waxes are particularly suitable for those training and intermediate skiers, while advanced skiers prefer high fluorocarbons. It’s however important to note that the higher the fluorocarbon content, the higher the cost.

Ironing

Wax, is usually applied using a special wax iron. You can use an old clothes iron box, but the wax won’t come out fast. Also, the temperature fluctuations in cloth irons are much higher than the wax iron.

Apply the wax on your skating board then use the iron to melt it and spread it evenly across the entire board, ensuring that the wax gets on the board. Zigzag motions are the best for covering the entire base. Take care not to overheat the wax. Overheated wax reacts by producing smoke.

Scraping and Brushing.

After ironing, you should give the board some time to cool. Say a minimum of thirty minutes. You could use a plastic scraper to scrape off the excess wax until only a thin layer of wax is visible.

After scraping, use waxing brushes to clean off excess wax. Start off with coarse brushes, finishing with the softer brushes.

 

 

 

 

Top Tips for Taking Your Skiing to the Next Level

01Aug

Skiing is an exhilarating experience that if you once master, you never want to stop. The adrenaline rush from both the speed and pull of gravity as you slide through the snow is out of this world. The right trainer and the right skiing track are also imperative for your skiing. Check out the Madarao resort in Japan that offers the best when it comes to skiing. If you start right as a beginner, and if you master the right tricks, skiing could be added to your list of hobbies. That being said, let us delve right into some of the top tips for taking your skiing to the next level.

The Basics

To move to the next step, you need to master the basics. Some of the most important basic tips for skiing are:

  1. Clothing: Have your gloves, skiing socks, and water proof jacket and trousers. In short, keep warm.
  2. Equipment: have with yourself well-fitting ski boots, ski boards, and ski poles. I cannot overemphasize the importance of wearing a helmet, no matter how fast you’re learning.
  3. Practice with patience- when you fall, and you will fall, get up and keep at it.
  4. Get help from the right qualified people. Avoid friends and spouses, as you might all get worked up when things do not work out as you expect.

See more on what to expect as a beginner.

 

Advancing to the intermediate level

Stance:

Adopting the right position/posture not only helps you ski with utmost ease but also puts you at less risk of injuring yourself.

 

Tips for maintaining the proper stance include:

  1. Keeping all joints, especially the knees bent at the correct angle, to improve balance and control.
  2. Keep your eyes trained ahead, to get a view of what’s ahead, and to prepare for it.
  3. Avoid leaning backward for balance, otherwise known as back seating. A useful tip to avoid back seating is using your shins to apply pressure on your ski boots so that they bend at the ankles. You must, however, be careful not to bend forward too much as you don’t want to be falling over on your face.
  4. Strive to keep your body weight directly over the skis’ narrowest points, also known as the ‘sweet spot.’

 

Speed Control

Speeding downhill can be breathtaking up until you realize that you’re losing control of speed. Lack of control leads to panic which is equal to disaster. Here are a few techniques for speed control:

  1. Skidding: Skidding involves breaking the top layer of the snow with the ski boards, hence slowing you down.
  2. Turn shape: Turn shape is a smoother technique, whereby you get to turn your skis into clean arcs, which flattens the snow underneath, making you slow down.
  3. Checking: Checking is more useful when you need to stop instantaneously. It involves briefly setting your edge to a stop.

Turning Techniques

The easiest method is whereby you use your feet and shoulders to turn. To turn right, you drop your left shoulder towards your left ski and turn your feet to the right. To turn left, you drop your right shoulder towards your right ski and turn your feet to the left. This is best done when your feet are at the plough or V position. A useful tip is keeping your head, torso, and hips facing in the direction you want to turn. Your legs and skis will automatically turn to face the intended direction.

Parallel Skiing

Parallel skiing is a graceful skiing technique that involves keeping your skis parallel to each other at all times. This is unlike the snow plough position where your skis are positioned in a V shape. The key tip for parallel skiing is keeping your weight on the outer ski when turning. When you master turning, you can then move on to edging where you move your weight to the inside of each ski, creating perfect, effortless turns.

Skiing Moguls

Moguls are bumps/ lumps of snow that have been created by other skiers as they turn, pushing the snow aside. Skiing moguls can be tricky and require right instruction and practice.

Mogul skiing requires keen and fast calculations. It includes knowing how to control speed, knowing when to break, calculating the space needed to turn and break comfortably, and being able to select the best route for skiing moguls.

 

Just like any other thing in life, moving to the next level requires practice, practice and more practice.

Why Snow, Snow-sports and Japan are good for your Health

14Jul

Here at Active Life Madarao, we know what’s good for you. And we even have the science to prove it!

All this nature will make you smile. And maybe even smarter.

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors in nature will drastically decrease your anxiety levels, and stop you ruminating over problems, aka being ‘stuck in your own head’. It both relieves existing stresses, and helps cushion the impact from future stresses. Rather than focusing on the negatives, and anything that is stressing you out, you’re concentrating on the beauty around you. And there’s nothing more beautiful than a blissful, snowy covered mountain!

It’s also been proven that nature can help improve your memory, concentration, and helps you think more clearly, so what better way to help prepare for upcoming exams than by hitting the slopes during the holidays! (Although, we do also recommend revising…)

Catch some Zzz’s

After a long, exhilarating day of skiing or snowboarding, there is nothing better than hitting the hay. Especially in one of our cozy and luxurious beds.

A good night’s sleep has been linked to better overall health, an improved mood, and even a better sex life! It can also help lessen general aches and pains, improve your memory, and help with weight loss.

So after a day on the slopes we highly recommend a nice long soak in the bath, followed by a good night’s rest. After a visit to the restaurant, and Tap That bar, of course.

Get your blood pumping

There’s nothing quite like the fresh, crisp air at the top of the mountainside. As well as the excitement brought on by participating in the exhilarating sport that is skiing, there is actually a scientific reason for why you’ll feel just so damn good.

Firstly, the air at the top of mountains contains more oxygen, giving you that fresh, deep breath sensation of fully filling your lungs. This, combined with the bright sun-lit snow, helps to increase the oxygen content in your red blood cells.

Also, the changes between using your muscles whilst skiing, and the rest periods in-between runs, improves the body’s blood circulation.

In layman’s terms, this means a more energetic, and healthy body, ready to do more snow sports!

Keeping fit, and burning calories

This one probably won’t come as a surprise, but skiing is a great workout! Keeping your balance works your core muscles, which helps stomach muscles get toned. The squatting position used for skiing helps tone, and strengthen lower body muscles. Holding and steering with the poles works your upper arm muscles.

A steady, moderate skiing burns around 400 calories an hour. And as if that wasn’t enough alone, cold weather can also help speed up your metabolism! Hooray!

Tastes Good, Does Good

A 2016 study by The British Medical Journal, showed that a traditional Japanese diet can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and decrease the risk of early death. This is due to all the super healthy grains, and yummy vegetables.

Our accomplished chef at Active Life Madarao knows all about yummy, and loves providing our guests with hearty breakfasts packed full of ski-ready-energy, and exquisite dinners perfect to unwind over.

We’ve known all along that what we have is the perfect package, and now we’ve got the science to back us up.

A stunning setting, and thrilling sports which will relieve stress, get you fit, and help keep you healthy? This is why we love Active Life.

 

Skiing lessons in Japan

Groomed vs. Ungroomed Skiing, and Other Such Lingo.

07Jul

Here at Active Life Madarao, we like to spoil you. And that means giving you the best of everything. So when it comes to your choice of ski slope, we make no exception.

If you are an experienced skier, you probably already have your favourite type of ski slope. With over 30 ski runs, we bet by the end of your stay with us, you’ll have your favourite run here too.

If you are a beginner, or have never even set a ski-donned foot on a slope before, then you probably don’t know what we’re talking about when we say ‘groomed’ and ‘ungroomed’ ski runs.

Don’t panic, it has nothing to do with your personal upkeep. We don’t send our guests rocking the bedhead look after a late night at our bar Tap That, to the ungroomed slope. There’s no judgement here.

A groomed slope is simply a slope we’ve taken our snow-groomer to. We send one of our lovely staff members out in the snow-groomer to drive down the slopes, which packs all the snow down and makes it nice and tightly compressed.

We don’t just do this because we love having a ride down the slopes on the snow-groomer (although we really do), but because it makes it an easier surface to ski down.

This makes it perfect for people who are learning to ski, as well as seasoned skiers.

An ungroomed slope is simply a slope that hasn’t been groomed by our snow-groomer! Try saying that sentence after a few of our craft beers.

Many skiers prefer this type of slope as it has a slightly wilder yet softer feel. It can be slighter harder on the joints as you need to use a lot more physical power to break through the trails. However, some people prefer this type of slope, and it really just comes down to a matter of preference.

Words

Different words from different language in the background there is a moutain.

Speaking of breaking trails…

Even if you’ve never been skiing before, we want you to feel completely at home at Active Life Madarao. We understand that it can be slightly intimating to take your first venture into the wonderful world of skiing, and that all the lingo you may hear flying around might be confusing.

Just like always, we’re here to help by breaking down some of the key jargon you might hear:

Run

The run is the path that you ski down. We always have these clearly marked at Active Life Madarao, and this is for both your safety, and so you have the best possible experience on the best maintained runs.

Breaking trail

This means skiing down a run with fresh snow that hasn’t been skied down yet. In other words, no previous ski trails.

Groomed vs. ungroomed trail

Er, we just did this. If you’ve forgotten already, you may want to re-read this blog post!

Active Life Madarao

Two amazing hotels –Active Life Madarao Hotel, and Hakken By Active Life Madarao Hotel in Madarao, Japan! Skiing in Japan at its finest!

Après-Ski

Literally translated from French, this means ‘after-ski‘. At Active Life Madarao, we translate it to mean ‘exquisite dinners, beers in the bar, bubble baths, and general relaxation’. Luckily for you, we can provide all of that in our hotel accommodation.

Bunny

This is a term sometimes used for a beginner. You may also hear ‘bunny slope/hill’, referring to the slopes used for beginners. It’s not meant as an insult, we were all beginners once. In fact, we think bunnies are very cute.

Shredder

A shredder is someone who is a very experienced, and talented skier. One or two of our staff members are shredders, according to them anyway…

Wipeout

A wipeout is when you fall over, and crash into the snow. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us!

Powder

Just another word for snow. You may also hear ‘pow’, or ‘pow-pow’. Yes, we are obsessed with snow.

These is just a few of the more common lingo you may hear. There is plenty more where that came from, and if you overhear anything you’re confused about, please do feel free to ask any of our lovely English-speaking staff members for a translation.

See you on the pow-pow!

Experience ‘Hakken’ by Active-Life Madarao

09Jun

Finding the right accommodation isn’t always as easy as you’d think, especially given the sheer volume of options that come up with every search. After a while it can begin to get rather stressful, as when you’re spoilt for choice it gets harder to make a definitive decision. Well, before you make any snap decisions you should ask yourself the following question:

What are your intentions when you book a skiing holiday? To pursue your passions; breathe in the crisp mountain air; push yourself to new heights and most important of all: to discover! Well, Active Life is proud to introduce to you the ultimate discovery: Hakken – a relaxed snow lodge with a unique Japanese experience – the perfect place to rejuvenate after an immense day on the slopes.

‘Hakken’ (Japanese for Discovery) is a newly renovated, quaint and relaxing snow lodge that lay quietly in the heart of  . Less than 5 minute walk from the Madarao resort chairlifts, you’ll find Hakken to be pleasantly convenient. What truly sets Hakken apart from the rest is its unique experience, blending western style amenities with a gorgeous, traditional Japanese twist – (The Tatami floors feel incredible under-foot too, offering a truly authentic experience)

Hakken also boasts a friendly team of Japanese, Kiwi and Australian staff who all breathe an open air of passionate hospitality throughout, waiting patiently to oblige your every need with a warm and receptive smile. You can rest assured that you will be well taken care of, with your best interests at the very epicentre of our priorities.

Recover with a perfect nights’ sleep

After a long and hard day on the slopes, when you’re feeling exhausted and ready for a deep sleep, you’ll feel wonderful in the thought of returning to one of the following room:

  • Family Room for 4 people
  • Deluxe Room for 3 people
  • Standard Room for 2 people

All of the rooms in Hakken are equipped with all of the essentials and amenities needed to make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible; from FREE Wifi, private bathrooms, an LCD TV, a safety deposit box, refrigerator and the most comfortable and dreamy, western style beds. Why would you want to lay your head to rest anywhere else?

Getting from A to B

Hakken is located in the Madarao Ski Resort, (also known as the renowned ‘Madarao Kogen’) in the northern region of Nagano Prefecture, between Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Kogen. There is a nearby train station named Iiyama, which is easy highly accessible and easy to reach. More importantly, Hakken offers a complimentary shuttle service to all guests, taking you from Iiyama train station, as well as to and from the Nozawa Onsen. Check shuttle timetable here: https://beactive.life/transport

Snow-Lodge Amenities

  • Baggage storage
  • Free WIFI
  • Drying Room
  • Ski and Board Hire
  • Vending Machine (Drinks)
  • Luggage Storage
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Onsen

Hakken hotel operates based on the Japanese Ski Season, from 16 December through until 31 March. Keep an eye out for any up-coming deals and get ready to

 

 

 

First Time Skiing? Here’s what to Expect

02Jun

We’ve all fantasised about it at one time or another; the fresh mountain air caressing your face as you bound down the side of a stunning snow covered mountain. It truly is one of the most natural and exhilarating experiences you can imagine, being both addictive and fun for everyone involved.

That being said, skiing for the very first time is rather scary, but with a little persistence and willpower you’ll soon fall in love (but not before you fall over plenty)

Below you will find a guide on what you can expect when you hit the slopes for the first time.

It won’t be easy

Like most new experiences, it isn’t going to be a walk in the park, (unless you’re walking in a park for the first time) particularly if you’ve no experience with something like ice-skating or rollerblading. It will be an alien feeling, though one that you will almost certainly enjoy. And just like anything else, the more you hit the slopes, the easier the sport will become.

Take full advantage of Ski lessons

We definitely recommend that you invest in some ski lessons for your first time. You don’t have to go too crazy with it, but at least take one or two to familiarise yourself with some of the basics before you go trundling down the side of a mountain. You’ll find that even the smallest hints and tips will make the difference between a good and a great first experience!

It’s important to remember that all beginners are in the same boat as you. It can be embarrassing falling over in front of strangers, but if you just open yourself up, embrace the nature of being exposed to something unfamiliar then you will undoubtedly enjoy yourself all the more.

Where to begin

Well, the beginner’s area is probably a good place to start! I’m not sure about you, but the thought of taking to the harsh slopes of Harakiri for a first attempt makes me feel a little nauseous. A beginners area tends to have a lot of flat surfaces, with a little nursery slope to help you find your feet before spreading your wings so to speak.

You WILL lose your balance

Be realistic and don’t set yourself impossible standards. It’s feels great to excel in everything that we try, though it’s important to remember that there will always be hurdles along the way. (Or in this case; great big trees!) Again, just dust yourself off and have a laugh with it. That being said, at least endeavour to fall over less than your friends and family, that way you can turn the abuse back around on them.

Don’t allow yourself to feel intimidated

As a beginner you are going to be pretty pants at first, so try not to compare yourself with others. When you’re tumbling down a little slope and a toddler zooms past and flips you the middle finger, just remember that it’s your first time – enjoy it!